Many owners can provide a daily, 60-minute workout, but the most successful Affiliates extend the experience to the remaining 23 hours of the day. This is what makes CrossFit great, but you know that.
Three years after I found the HQ blog, my friend and I joined our local Affiliate as a team. One day, I convinced myself to walk into that gym alone and they already knew me — “Lauren from the Noon,” they called me. While that made me feel like some sort of superhero, it was really me being inducted into the community. People started liking and commenting on my performance results through Facebook, inviting me to “Wine and WODs” and I began forming friendships I never imagined. What I’ve now realized is that I was never joining a gym: I was finding a community.
Gym owners have a lot of power. A community is more than one workout a day and because of that we can affect great change both in and out of the gym. Aside from great programming, coaching and facilities, the athlete community drives adoption and is key to retention and keeping revenue dollars high. Interacting outside of the gym will organically promote strong bonds and there are three, easy ways to start:
We live in a socially connected world. Members are constantly posting videos of lifts, inspirational posts and pictures of meals. Gyms must harness this excitement and create social platforms for athlete interaction. Many athletes attend the same class each week, befriending only others from those classes. Open reservation tracking, group forums and socializing the workout experience allows athletes to continue to communicate between classes and non-gym hours, making them stronger influences on each other. The ability for an athlete to see who is going to class is often the push needed to grab her gym bag and go. Knowing who attended that morning fosters friendly competition throughout the workday.
The best data is measurable. Consistent WOD tracking is a successful tool because athletes can see their successes and strides toward becoming stronger. From using a lighter scaling tool to RX-ing a WOD for the first time, athletes will continue to come back if they can see their progress charted over time. Allowing other athletes and Coaches within the community to comment on and acknowledge PRs creates a community that cheers for each other, encourages each other to come back and grows a community that is strong even when the gym is closed.
Emails and texts are the easiest way to keep in contact with your members. Tools automate administrative communication such as gym closings and holiday schedules and also allow you to promote competitions, in-house BBQs or showcase a Member-of-the-Month. Most of us have our phones with us at all times, so what better way to connect with your athletes?
As a Coach, I’ve sent quick texts to my athletes that I haven’t seen in awhile, just to check in and see if all is well with them. This easy contact has created the opening for a conversation and interpersonal relationship outside of the gym. It has also allowed me to gently encourage our members to come to the gym whether their days are good or bad, weights heavy or light, and continue to check in and applaud their accomplishments.
Retention is paramount and as business owners we need to keep our churn rate as low as possible. One of the easiest ways to sell recurring membership is by showing leads what they will experience as a member at a Box. They can experience a packed class with loud music, solid Coaches, and a few high-fives and laughs shared after a hard workout. Seeing athletes supporting athletes and cheering them on in their fitness can help someone identify as a member. Referrals and word of mouth will bring bodies in the door, but the athlete community is in fact the strongest method to keep hands on barbells at your gym.
By Lauren Malazita, the director of training at Wodify. Wodify is a comprehensive management software designed to give Boxes a competitive edge. For more information, visit protalk.wodify.com.